Humans are united through common experiences. Most have loved and been loved. In our lifetimes, we will all experience joy that makes our hearts soar and grief that will bring us to our knees. We know the feeling of the warm sun and have gazed upward at the same stars in a night sky.
Yet we are also profoundly different. Our individual culture shapes the way we interpret the world around us and the way we interact with each other. Some cultural influences are determined by circumstances we are born into. Our race, gender, and national origin impact the way we experience our world. We may also choose various cultures throughout our lifetime, such as those found in religion, employment opportunities, or living in a different country.
Culture impacts our own lives, and it influences the way we treat others. Studying culture is important because it fosters a better sense of tolerance and appreciation of diversity. People who learn to value differences are people who encourage efforts to establish a more equitable society. They are more likely to recognize bias and to find the power of inclusion, understanding that different cultural groups bring diverse strengths to any community.
Studying culture teaches people to understand and even celebrate individuality and to use a mindset of tolerance and respect to engage in meaningful conversations about conflict. It helps people to better understand the challenges that various cultural groups have faced as well as the meaningful impacts diverse cultures have had on world history. Studying culture encourages learners to become more cognizant of the world that exists beyond their own personal cultural experiences and to see the value that exists within those differences.